Brian Fallow provided a good overview of the politics and reality of dealing with agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in yesterday’s Herald:
In the context of a dairy boom the arguments for exempting agriculture is likely to fall on ears if not entirely deaf, at least hard of hearing. The dairy sector, after all, would not be asked to physically reduce its emissions to some level. It would only have to take financial responsibility for any increase in emissions above that level. If it is cheaper to buy emissions reductions that have occurred elsewhere or offsets from forest sinks, well, that is exactly what a trading regime is for. It is intended to achieve emissions reductions at least cost, and reflects the fact that the atmosphere does not care where the reduction occurs. More cows, in short, may just mean more trees. Or biogas digesters. Or biodiesel from algae on effluent ponds.